Mark Maguire – Northern Ireland Sales Manager – Europcar UK
Northern Ireland police figures show that traffic accident fatalities rise during the winter season. Other studies show that the danger of road accidents increases by 30% between 5pm and 8pm in the month following the clocks going back.
There is no question that the winter months pose an added challenge for businesses that have employees travelling for work. Fewer daylight hours coupled with adverse weather conditions increases the likelihood of accidents, putting pressure on companies which rely on vehicles to support their daily operations.
According to these statistics September and October 2016 saw the highest number of fatalities on Northern Ireland’s roads. In 2017, October and November each saw a spike in road deaths, possibly as a result of the late arrival of autumnal weather compared with previous years.
These figures should be food for thought for local businesses. Whether it’s a fleet of dedicated drivers or simply staff driving to meetings and work appointments, employers need to ensure that any vehicles used in connection with the business are properly maintained and roadworthy.
The increased risk of accidents in the winter months can also add to the administrative, financial and productivity burden on businesses. This is especially true for SME businesses. When vehicles are unexpectedly off the road this reduces productivity and earnings and can add even more pressure to the often limited resources of smaller companies.
Since the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act in 2008, individual directors, managers or business owners may be prosecuted for manslaughter or health and safety offences where there is sufficient evidence of failings. In addition to this, businesses found guilty of corporate manslaughter are liable to an unlimited fine.
Vehicle hire directly addresses many of these challenges, offering a solution which helps businesses to reduce the risks associated with older, less efficient or poorly maintained vehicles.
Using vehicle hire as a total or partial fleet solution, employers can ensure that employees travel in newer, fully maintained vehicles with 24/7 breakdown cover included as standard for added peace of mind.
Europcar’s nationwide delivery and collection service enables local businesses to provide staff with the right vehicle for the job with fast and efficient delivery to their home or workplace, enhancing productivity and efficiency.
There is no doubt that the winter months present real challenges for businesses that rely on road transport for their operations. With a sensible approach to safety and incorporating vehicle hire into the fleet management strategy of businesses of all shapes and sizes, such challenges may well be overcome. Vehicle hire is undoubtedly the fastest and most flexible solution for businesses wishing to access new and nearly new fully maintained cars and vans which help ensure these employers can more easily comply with their duty of care obligations.
To find out more about how Europcar can support your business contact Mark Maguire on 07969 109425.
Source: PSNI Statistics Branch